Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund beneficiaries get a shot at reporting, with help from Samsung

Ms Sumiko Tan, executive editor of The Straits Times, receiving a cheque from Mr Eugene Goh, president of Samsung Electronics Singapore, during the 4th HeadSTart outing on March 19, 2019.
Ms Sumiko Tan, executive editor of The Straits Times, receiving a cheque from Mr Eugene Goh, president of Samsung Electronics Singapore, during the 4th HeadSTart outing on March 19, 2019.ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

SINGAPORE - For two hours on Tuesday (March 19) afternoon, 33 primary and secondary school students got a flavour of the job of a journalist when they visited The Straits Times.

The beneficiaries of The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund (STSPMF), aged between 10 and 14 years, explored the newly-revamped newsroom armed with brand new 10.5-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab A tablets worth $600 each, sponsored by Samsung.

They were asked to place themselves in the shoes of a journalist, interview three eyewitnesses who saw a mysterious creature, and try to draw what it looked like using their tablets. Some of them took photographs of the eyewitnesses.

The goal was to introduce them to the skills reporters need, such as asking questions, teamwork and verifying information.

"It was like a treasure hunt," said Primary Four pupil Zaheerul Hissham, 10. "I had to ask the right questions and use my creativity to draw the creature."

His team was one of two winners for the closest illustration of the creature - a long, three-eyed multi-coloured dragon with two tails.

It was the fourth HeadSTart outing for ST journalists to interact with students from low-income families supported by STSPMF during their school holidays.

Mr Eugene Goh, president of Samsung Electronics Singapore, also presented a cheque for $10,000 for the STSPMF to Straits Times executive editor Sumiko Tan, who is on the STSPMF's board of trustees.

"Samsung is proud to have contributed over the years to STSPMF's mission of helping children in need reach their full potential," said Mr Goh.

"As a company at the forefront of innovation, we believe every child is unique and I hope that our contribution will inspire them to scale greater heights and go on to do what people say they can't."

STSPMF was started in 2000 as a community project by The Straits Times to give pocket money to children from low-income families to help them through school. Since then, it has helped over 170,000 cases of children and youth in need and disbursed over $60 million.

Ms Tan Bee Heong, general manager of STSPMF, said: "It has been a very memorable and fun day for our beneficiaries. We are very grateful to the staff from The Straits Times for taking time to be with them and to Samsung for sponsoring this meaningful project every year."

Added Primary Four pupil Hahvenaas Poveneshwaran, 10: "I liked interviewing all the people."

As for the tablet, he said: "I will use it to do my homework, not play games."